Stories Rarely Told: The Trials & Triumphs of African-American Women In Construction

OPB – Geneva Chin – Friday, 07 February 2014 (originally published 31 Jan)

Donna Hammond,
Donna Hammond, business representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 48. Image: Aevum / Hammond

“It was hard. I went home in tears so many days. The sabotage that happened,” says Donna Hammond, recalling the early days of being an electrical apprentice in Portland more than 35 years ago. Hammond is one of few black women in construction and one of the first in her field locally.

She remembers a frightening incident while she was doing some welding at 20 amps. She says someone secretly turned up the amperage on her welder to 150.

“Sparks were flying. Fire everywhere. I thought my hair was on fire,” says Hammond, who also recalls an electrician who did not want to be seen working with her. “He would make me walk 10, maybe five paces behind him” . . .

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